Jewish Office Building Evacuated Due to Bomb Threat

Published: June 29th 2010
in News » Local

Evacuees from the Lipa Green Building
Pic: Taken via iPhone

Members of Toronto’s Jewish community were given an unpleasant reminder on Tuesday that expressions of hate can sometimes become a real threat.


The Lipa Green Building, which is home to many offices serving the Toronto Jewish community including UJA Federation, was evacuated on Tuesday afternoon following threats of a bomb in the building.


Sources on the scene told Shalom Life that two phone calls were received over a period of two hours on Tuesday. Both times, the person who made the call informed of a bomb in the building. As a result, the building was evacuated at approximately 1pm Tuesday afternoon, a time when offices are open and the building is filled with individuals going about their daily business.


UJA Security, under the direction of Doron Horowitz (Director of Community Security), acted promptly and quickly upon receiving the bomb threats. Following the evacuation the building was thoroughly examined for any potential threats.


At approximately 3pm, after a thorough examination determined that there was no threat of a bomb or other forms of explosives in the building, the evacuees were allowed to re-enter the building.


UJA Security officers conducted the entire operation with full cooperation from the Toronto Police.


Some of the individuals who were on scene praised the security officers, who were on high alert and were able to quickly respond to the emergency and deal with it in an appropriate and timely manner.


According to statistics released by B’nai Brith several months ago, incidents of anti-Semitism in Canada are at an all-time high. B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights found that 1,264 anti-Semitic incidents occurred in 2009, marking an 11 percent increase from 2008.


As B’nai Brith Executive Vice President Frank Dimant explained at the time, the rise in anti-Semitic incidents in 2009 was a direct result of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. “We note that the highest number of incidents ... occurred in January 2009,” said Dimant.


Anti-Semitic incidents remained high over the course of 2009, with an increase in such incidents being reported around the period of the high holy days, when ten Canadian synagogues were vandalized. All in all, B’nai Brith’s audit found that in 2009 there were 884 cases of harassment, 348 incidents of vandalism, and 32 incidents of violence nationwide. Toronto saw the highest occurrence of incidents with a total of 479.


Two years ago intelligence officials reported that Hezbollah conducted surveillance on the Israeli embassy in Ottawa and on several synagogues in Toronto. It was believed that the militant organization was activating some of its “sleeper cells” in Canada for the purposes of avenging the assassination of its senior leader Imad Murniyah, who was killed by a car bomb in Damascus in February 2008.


At the time of the report, Canadian Jewish Congress CEO Bernie Farber told the Canadian Press: “Our belief is that our federal authorities have things in hand. They’ve known about this alleged threat for a while, they’ve investigated it, and they’ve told me categorically that while the chatter is out there, and it has been for a while, there is nothing to lead them to believe that there’s anything imminent or that in fact the chatter is real.”

Related articles: (Lipa Green Building, Bomb Threat, Anti-Semitism)
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